Teamsters say new HOS rules could increase danger on U.S. roadways

While several trucking industry organizations have spoken out in favor of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Final Rule on Hours of Service regulations, Teamsters say that they oppose the rule changes because they are a threat to highway safety.

In a May 14 statement released shortly after the FMCSA shared the HOS changes, Teamsters said that they believe these changes would force drivers to spend more time behind the wheel and increase driver fatigue.

The new rules alter the driver break rule to require a 30 minute rest break after eight hours of driving instead of eight hours on duty. It will also allow drivers to record 30 minutes as “on-duty non-driving” status to take a break. The new HOS rules also increase the short haul exemption to 14 hours on duty within a distance of 150 air miles

“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”

Teamsters point to multiple National Transportation Safety Board reports that point to driver fatigue as the cause of large truck crashes.

“Extending the work day to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters’ Safety and Health Department. “We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”

For more information on the Hours of Service Final Rule, please click here.